The weight of it all
With school back in full swing, the pressure to do well is once again pressing down, particularly on seniors. Many of them are trying to keep up their grades, work, volunteer for extracurricular activities, prepare college applications and then find time for a social life.
When asked how stressed students at Marysville Charter Academy for the Arts feel on a scale of 1 to 10, 60 percent of seniors answered 7 and above, while 70 percent also reported stress having effects on their daily health.
Chase Armstrong, a senior, said, "What it comes down to is having a lot of things to do in a short amount of time. Emotionally, physically, mentally ... stress just drains you, leaves you exhausted."
With the hectic pace of life, we so easily get caught up in the rush, trying to utilize every moment in hopes of getting everything done, to the point where we forget to take a moment to breathe. Stress is universal and affects all of us, but it's how we choose to deal with it that determines its influence.
MCAA was founded on the idea of using arts for expression, to learn through them and apply their lessons to our everyday lives. The arts give us a way to discover and see things in a different light, illuminating the possibilities and potential we tend to overlook, both in life and in ourselves.
With less than a year left to prepare for adulthood, MCAA's seniors hold fast to this fundamental belief and have risen to the challenge of finding new and creative ways to combat the pressures of teenage life.
Chloe Butcher, a senior, said she copes with stress by "Going out and taking photos for a while, getting lost in it. It's just the most serene, awesome feeling in the world."
Chase said, "For me, singing just takes me somewhere else, somewhere far away from all my problems."
"I make a story about a person going through the same things, and then give it a happy ending where things just work out," said senior Taylan Ferris.
Making the time to relax and spend time doing the things you enjoy are just as important as all of the other tasks on your plate. People of all ages face this problem — of trying to do so many things in only so much time — until it becomes so overwhelming that they feel trapped beneath the weight of it all.
Knowing your limits is never a sign of weakness — it's having the strength to be responsible for yourself.
"You first have to realize, 'I'm doing this to myself,'" senior Sydney Johnson offered as advice. "Then try not to put too much on yourself and spend some time focusing on things that make you happy."
MCAA's senior class puts this advice into action and has become a group of role models to their fellow peers. Setting the example, they strive for their dreams and remain diligent in all their endeavors, proving that it is possible to balance all of the hard work with a love and expression of the arts.
Kylee Schesser is a senior at Marysville Charter Academy for the Arts. Her column appears every six weeks in Education.